Over the past 8 weeks I have had a sinus virus, very similar to the one I has last year that lasted 4 months. A foggy head like a head cold that makes thinking almost impossible, coughing and sneezing so violent that it makes you pee a little, breathless at the slightest thing and a general feeling of being exhausted, bleh and 'over it'.
During this time I have had time off for sick leave but also 2 weeks annual leave and tonight am heading away for a weekend near the beach with my partner, a time to rest, refresh and reconnect. A break from a busy life to have some quality couple time, lazy days and sex....lots of it....well that is what we would both like but the reality may be very different.
But the way I have been feeling, sex has been the last thing on my mind. What I have been thinking about is intimacy, all the things that show me how much I am loved and cared for, the Languages of Love like, physical touch: cuddles, not so much kisses as I didn't want to pass along what I have and massages, acts of service: doing the little things like making a hot cuppa, getting medications ready, running a hot bath, and making dinner, gift giving: bringing home treats to make me feel better, words of affirmation: these can be hard when you look and feel like hell, but little things like asking how you are feeling and being proud of you that you actually got out of your PJs or out of bed today and finally quality time: which can incorporate the others, spending time focused on each other with no distractions.
For me I will get better over the next few weeks and back to my usual self but it got me thinking about people who have chronic illness, disability or some of the impacts of ageing and how hard it must be to maintain a sexual and sensual connection with yourself and your partner in the long term. If you experience pain, feelings of unwellness (if that is a word), or that your body has let you down (insert menopause here for me as well as illness), it can be difficult to even think about being sexual let alone do anything.
This is where the languages of love can come into play to feel connected, loved and intimate with each other and a bit of imagination can help in working out ways to still be sexual. Things may need to be done differently, sexual activity may change and be less strenuous, it may be gentler, it may be more oral or manual stimulation rather than penetration, and there may be sex aids and toys that can help.
So my partner and I will make the most of our weekend getaway, we will catch up with mates, spend quality time together to reconnect in whatever way we can, allowing for illness, and our sensual life will get back to what we both enjoy soon enough.
My wish for everyone else this long weekend is that you also take time to reconnect with yourself and those you love, and if you also have illness, pain or disability that impacts on your sensuality, that you find ways to maintain that connection with your sensual, sexual self and those that you share this with.
I have been absent on here for the past few weeks due to illness, final uni assignments and the turmoil of the latest mercury retrograde making me ponder life, the universe and my role in it all.
The later has been interesting, many posts on facebook resonated, letting go and moving forward, my memories of the past, my wondering of the future and a restlessness that I could not explain. I have been here before as I was approaching the end of my studies in 2006.....so near and yet so far.
I processed many fond memories of the past, remembering fun times with mates on the Sunshine Coast and thinking about how we have all scattered and how much our lives have changed yet some of us are still in contact and catch up from time to time. Finding a familiarity in the restlessness I was feeling, one I had first felt when I was going on my spiritual journey back in the late 1990s and early 2000s which culminated in a realisation of my sexuality. And then again as I previously mentioned, as I approached the end of my undergrad studies, pondering where it would take me. And it has been quite a career adventure, a winding path to my dream job and a realisation of where I want to go in my future career.
They say that life goes in 7 year cycles, if that is the case then I am approaching the end of one as I get closer to 56, maybe that is playing a role.....I have found in the past that things would start to shift in the year prior to the 7 yr cycle....I am about to finalise my last assignment and then will have a year of my research dissertation and then graduation and time to move into private practice. Another new career adventure that I will move into slowly over the next few years, this website and the facebook pages being a start in building my sexological empire (hey ya gotta dream big).
I have also been observing some people I know on their spiritual journey, as I said one I went on as I approached my 40s, and found I was able then to incorporate in to my day to day life around the age of 42 (another 7 yr cycle). It made me think about how that was now, almost 14 years later, missing in my life. Time to explore it again, I have started to incorporate crystals into my life again, have set up a meditation space (which I have not started to use yet) and have booked myself into a yoga retreat for later this year (hopefully the kick start I need).
As part of the letting go process it was important to me to remember fondly things in my past, to grieve and heal anything that was left over that had hurt me, to look at the people who were in my life and their role...maybe it is time to let some of them go as well (I can hold on to friendships long after their use by date). So I have been reconnecting to see how I feel about those friendships, were they still strong but interrupted by busy lives or were they over and the time had come to move on from them. This is still a work in progress and only time will tell who will still be in my life and who will just be a fond memory.
So as the Mercury Retrograde comes to a close and the Spring Equinox is upon us, it is time to look to the future, letting go of past pain and putting some memories into the box with other fond times. Being open to a new life, a fresh start, moving towards a bright future whatever that may be for us all, whether that be a new job, home, relationship, friends, or starting a family, study, travel, sports, hobbies or adventures.......life is a ride, grab it with both hands and hang on.
With the Mercury Retrograde starting on August 30 and ending September 16 I have seen many people reporting experiences of things not working or going to plan and posts about letting go of the old to welcome the new. So I thought that it might be a good opportunity to explore what is out there about what is going on in the cosmos and how this may impact on you.
This info about Numerology and the upcoming 9/9/16 came from Elephant Journal:
"In numerology, September 9th, 2016 translates to 999 as it is the ninth day of the ninth month in a 9 year 2016 (2+0+1+6=9.)
We are about to go through a very intense phase that will cleanse poisonous toxins from our lives, which include unhealthy habits, extreme behaviours, outdated beliefs and irrational fear-based thoughts and feelings that diminish our energy and leave us feeling fraught, anxious and burnt-out.
Also, any ties that are energetically binding us to people or situations that are detrimental to us or limiting us in any way will easily be severed during this period and we will walk away with peace, love, compassion and forgiveness in our hearts. In particular, we will feel the urge to remove ourselves from the company of anyone that regularly provokes arguments, shows aggression, is controlling, manipulative, deceptive, judgemental, overly critical or generally abusive to us.
Not only will we be ending a nine-year cycle that has felt especially vicious, we are about to embark on an important, transformational new phase—and if we have been involved in any toxicity, it is vital that we are ready for this shift."
The moon solar eclipse is also influencing at the moment, this is from empower Astrology:
"The New Moon solar eclipse at 9 degrees Virgo on the 1st September.
Eclipses are the most powerful transits that you can experience. They herald major beginnings and endings, burning and purifying. Solar eclipses tend to create new beginnings and bright new opportunities. Usually, they are exciting, are often very positive, and bring news out of the blue. This Solar Eclipse in Virgo is immensely significant, the major activity cycle for 2016 begins now. The North Node and Virgo-Jupiter are highly active.
We have two powerful eclipses back to back in September. The Solar eclipse on the 1st September and a Lunar eclipse on the 16th September. We will all feel the effects of the two eclipses but even more so if you have personal planets in your horoscope that are directly aspected by the eclipse. Eclipses can uproot us, surprise us, and get us moving. They shake us up so that we can move from one level of maturity to another, to a higher plane, very rapidly. Eclipses want us to change, and change we do! Anything that we have been holding onto that no longer serves our highest purpose will fall away during the two eclipses in September. Whether that be people, circumstances or limiting and negative patterns of thinking and behaving.
And on both a personal and collective level we will find the September energies positively culminating on the New Moon in Libra September 30th together with Jupiter in Libra heralding a new healthy paradigm for better relationships and love. With many karmic lovers meeting and coming together during the Jupiter in Libra transit from September 9th 2016to October 2017."
From Wicca Teachings:
"With a New Moon in the constellation of Virgo, the earth is going through a major transition at the moment, dark is taking over light, cold is taking over warmth, death is taking over life as we speed into September. We will be able to see and feel these energies all around us. We can also use these energies of transformation to become what we want to be, to shed our skin and start a fresh and make changes that will improve our lives.
With this New Moon we are essentially working on a blank canvas where our ideas can gestate into reality. We can create the world around us and shape our futures to what we want, we just need to be willing to put in the work. All work done around the Virgo New Moon will pay off and give big rewards. The Virgo New Moon brings attention to the details and listening to your conscience or rather the wise voice from inside. Look deep within yourself and ask yourself what it is that will make you happy, what will make you feel whole."
Chani Nichols explains it all this way:
"Virgo is the reality of having to tend to the details of life. Pisces, the sign of the lunar eclipse occurring on September 16th, is the idealistic dream of what life could be. This eclipse season has us straddling the polarity of precision and symbolism, organisation and creative chaos, facts and fictions.
This week’s solar eclipse is sitting in a tight square to Saturn (a loose square to Mars) and a tight opposition to Neptune. It ties together the Saturn/Neptune square, an aspect that has been brewing since November 2015. The Saturn (walls, boundaries, blockades, structures, limitations)/Neptune (dissolution, delusions, deceptions, leaks, lies) square has correlated with a tremendous amount of structural dissolution, fantasy versus reality and a rise in rhetoric about structural extremism and separation. The eclipse gets caught in the cross-hairs of this cosmic soup calling up the limitations, fear-based reactions and the changing shape of things that we are dealing with, both internally and externally.
Virgo’s answer is to tend to the details of life. To be a student of its cycles. To study what is in front of it. To learn all it can and then to apply its deft ability to discern and analyse the data, integrating what is good, eliminating what is of no use.
Remember that eclipse season lasts for a while. Longer than the two weeks they technically span. What happens during them tends to have a lasting impact on our lives. See the cycle from up close and a great distance. Zoom in and pan out. Give yourself extra breathing room. Focus on the moment at hand and give up on sticking to the plan in any kind of precise way. Go easy, tread lightly and be the softest that you can with yourself and everyone else."
So as you can see the next few weeks are going to be a time of change, ending and beginnings, letting go and moving forward. Take some time to explore what is in your life that no longer serves you well, process old emotions, look to the future, be grounded and connected to yourself, look for renewal and the possibilities of the future.
Be gentle on yourself as things shift in and around you, take some time for reflection, meditation, mindfulness, do things that speak to your heart and soul (whatever that may be for you)and prepare for the new and exciting things ahead.
Hold on it because it may be a hell of a Ride.
Richelle has had a passion for sexuality and sexual health since 2001. She has worked in the field since 2006, providing sexuality education in schools, and adult education in the topics of diverse sexualities and gender identities, LGBT health issues, sexual health and LGBT relationships.
This is a space for me to share with you my journey as a Sexologist, the things I learn and the people I meet and what I think and feel along the way.